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Chapter 1: Introduction

Background

The Cleveland metropolitan region continues to decentralize as total regional population and employment have grown only minimally, yet more people and jobs are moving away from Cuyahoga County to neighboring Lake, Geauga, Summit, Medina and Lorain Counties. In Cuyahoga County, in addition to Cleveland, many suburban communities have reached full “build out” and new development in our region continues to occur at the metropolitan fringe where land is available, accessible and more economical.
 

Map 1

Projected Regional Growth Trends
Projected Regional Growth Trends
 
Key to map
Source: Eco-City Cleveland
As the region’s population and jobs move further out, the amount of developed land in the region increases at a greater rate. As shown in Map 1, between 1960 and 1990, population in the Cleveland “urbanized area” (defined as places where there are 1,000 residents per square mile) declined by 5.9 percent, yet the amount of land considered “urbanized” increased by 9.4 percent . This means more sewers, more schools, more roads—with nearly the same number of people in the region to pay for its construction and upkeep.
 
As Cuyahoga County approaches full “build-out”, the challenge for cities like Mayfield Heights is how to guide redevelopment so as to remain economically competitive while preserving the quality of life valued by the community’s residents.
 
For Mayfield Heights, the increasing age of the City’s housing stock is an important factor affecting its ability to attract and keep residents by assuring the availability of housing options appropriate for changing stages of life.
 
The City must also figure out a way to reposition itself in terms of its retail land uses as the Cleveland region is generally over served by retail developments given the lack of population growth.
 
Similarly, evolving trends in the way people shop is another issue the City must address as automobile-oriented, strip shopping centers have become so plentiful in our region and many are becoming obsolete. Finally, the presence of a substantial office base in the City’s corporate parks provides jobs and revenues to the City, and strategies to assure the competitiveness of these centers must be considered as companies continue to have the option of moving to new and better space.
 
This current effort to update the Mayfield Heights’ Master Plan recommends a future development plan for the City. The primary goal of the Plan is to provide guidance on the amount, the type, and the pattern of development that should be pursued by the City so as to achieve the economic and quality of life goals supported by the community.
 

Purpose of the 2004 Master Plan

 

A City’s Master Plan is a long-range planning document that guides a community’s overall approach and strategy for future development. An effective master plan document:

  1.  
    • Defines a community’s mission statement or vision;
    • Identifies goals, objectives and development policies—for both the near-term and the long term;
    • Accurately communicates citizen needs and desires about their community; and
    • Recommends specific strategies to achieve those values.
 

The master plan should be consulted regularly and used to guide the future decisions of the City’s Planning Commission, City Council, and the City Administration relating to the review and approval of proposed developments. The 2004 Mayfield Heights Master Plan will not change any laws or zoning regulations at the time of its adoption—but it provides guidance as to what changes are needed. For Zoning Code and/or Zoning Map changes recommended by the plan to become law, the Mayfield Heights City Council would need to separately evaluate its zoning regulations and adopt a new code or amendments to the existing code to assure implementation of the City’s new master plan. D.B. Hartt, Inc. strongly encourages that a zoning review project be carried out following the adoption of the new master plan.

Finally, master plans are based on data and conditions that are collected at the time that the Plan is developed. It is important to regularly review the plan (i.e., every 5-10 years) to assess new data, obstacles and opportunities and to determine if new development strategies are warranted.

 

The Planning Process

In 1972, the City adopted the Mayfield Heights Comprehensive Plan, prepared by the Cuyahoga County Planning Commission, as an update of its 1964 plan. The 1972 Plan was divided into Residential, Community Facilities, Retail Business and Transportation planning sections. At the time of the plan’s adoption, planners were forecasting a growing population for the City and recommended that the City pursue economic development to enhance its tax base. At that time, there were still considerable amounts of unused or vacant land available to the City to achieve both its residential and economic development goals. While the forecasted growth in population has not occurred, the City has experienced considerable economic investment--leaving the City nearly completely built-out.

In early 2003, the City of Mayfield Heights approved a project to produce a new master plan to guide future land development, hired D.B. Hartt, Inc. to serve as the planning consultant, and appointed a Master Plan Advisory Committee (MPAC) to work with the consultant in producing the City’s new master plan. The 34-member MPAC is comprised of the City’s six City Council members, the Mayor, representatives of the Planning Commission, its Board of Zoning Appeals, staff representatives, as well as community residents and business leaders. Each of the members of the MPAC was interviewed by the planning consultant early in the process to gain an understanding of each Committee Member’s perspective on the development issues facing the community and potential strategies for addressing those issues.


Over the course of the year, the Committee met to: 1) review background information on factors affecting future land use; 2) develop an outline of goals and objectives for future development; and 3) identify policy/strategy options for achieving the desired future development patterns. On September 24, 2003, the MPAC presented a preliminary outline of the policy directions and strategies under consideration for the master plan to City residents at a public forum. On February 5, 2004, the MPAC held a community Open House for those interested in reviewing the draft plan. With input from these public meetings, the MPAC and the consultants have prepared the 2004 Mayfield Heights Master Plan.